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Panel Grants Lawyer Access To Lekki Shooting Video 

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Panel Grants Lawyer Access To Lekki Shooting Video

The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS related abuses and other matters has granted counsel to three #EndSARS protesters access to a surveillance video, which captured the October 20 shootings at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos.

Panel chair Judge emeritus Doris Okuwobi directed the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) to make the 20-hour footage available to the protesters’ lawyer, Adesina Ogunlana.
Ogunlana, Justice Okuwobi said, would have 48 hours to review the footage and inform the court which portions of the video should be shown during the panel sitting.
The judge did not uphold a suggestion by Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) representative Bernard Oniga, for the video to be made more widely available, including to the press.
Soldiers have been accused of shooting at #EndSARS protesters, injuring and killing some, an allegation the military has denied.
The shootings were believed to have occurred from just over 6pm on October 20.
About four hours of the video were played on Friday from about between 11:35am and nearly past 5pm, with a pause in between during break time.
The video, broken into footages of roughly 30 minutes in length, took up all of the day’s sitting with no time left to hear other petitions.
The footages displayed on a large screen in the room, showed vehicular movement as well as protesters’ around the toll gate, but captured from a long distance away.
The video was tendered by LCC Managing Director, Abayomi Omomuwa, through LCC’s counsel, Rotimi Seriki, on Tuesday.
Omomuwa, whose firm operates the toll gate, said the footage was retrieved from a surveillance camera mounted by the firm on a mast at the toll gate.
Before the video was played, Ogunlana, who previously participated in previous panel sittings as an observer, caused a stir when he announced his appearance as a counsel for #EndSARS protesters.
The former NBA Ikeja Branch chairman told the panel that he would like to cross-examine Omowuwa.
Seriki and Lagos State Government counsel, Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN) opposed Ogunlana’s appearance on the ground that “#EndSARS” is not a legal person.
Owonikoko described #EndSARS as a nebulous entity with no structure or leader and sought to know where Ogunlana got his instruction to appear before the panel.
Seriki, on his part said since the LCC MD was before the panel on a subpoena, “he cannot be cross-examined by every Tom, Dick, and Harry.”
But they both withdrew their objection when Ogunlana called out his three female clients.
The trio – Victoria Oniru, Dabira Ayuku, and Perpetual Kamsiyuchukwu – announced their appearance through Ogunlana.
“I am not representing spirits or ghosts. We’re here to tell the truth. These are part of the people running underground, being threatened,” Ogunlana said.
Ruling on the matter, Justice Okuwobi admitted the protesters as a party and allowed their lawyer’s appearance.
Seriki and Owonikoko’s noted that the footage was date and time stamped.
They suggested that the video should be fast-forwarded to about 5pm, which is when it starts capturing footage relevant to the shootings.
But Ogunlana opposed them and insisted on the entire 20-hour video to be played, following which it was played for about four hours.
Towards the end of the proceedings, Ogunlana sought the protection of the court for #EndSARS protesters and himself. He said they were operating under a cloud of fear.
But Owonikoko contested the claim, saying there was no threat to the witnesses.
The panel adjourned till November 10 for the Lekki Shootings matter while sitting resumes on Saturday for other petitions.

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‘It’s Suicidal ’, Labour Rejects FG’s Plans To Slash Salaries

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The Organised Labour has condemned and rejected the plan by the Federal Government to slash the salaries of workers in the country.

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, who said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, noted that the plan was tantamount to a “mass suicide” wish, for Nigerian workers.

Waba said that NLC was shocked at a statement credited to the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, on the plan to reduce the high cost of governance by cutting down on the workers’ salaries.

”The minister also allegedly directed the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), to immediately review the salaries of civil servants as well as the number of federal agencies in the country.

”It is almost unthinkable that the government would be contemplating to unilaterally slash the salaries of Nigerian workers at this time,” he said.

Wabba added that, “the question to ask is which salary is the government planning to slash? It certainly cannot be the meager national minimum wage of N30, 000, which right now cannot even buy a bag of rice”.

He expressed the belief that the proposed slash in salaries was certainly not targeted at the minimum wage and consequential adjustment in salaries that some state governors were still dragging their feet to pay.

According to him, it is in public knowledge that the multiple devaluations of the Naira in a short time, and the prevailing high inflation rate in Nigeria, have knocked out the salaries earned by Nigerian workers across the board.

”Nigerian workers are only surviving by hair’s breadth. Indeed, Nigerian workers are miracles strutting on two legs.

”It is, therefore, extremely horrendous for a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to pronounce salary slash for Nigerian workers currently.

”This call for salary slash by Mrs Zainab Ahmed is tantamount to a “mass suicide” wish, for Nigerian workers,” he said.

While opposing the move, he demanded an immediate retraction and apology by the Minister of  Finance.

The NLC president, however, said that if there was any salary that needed serious slashing, “it is the humongous remuneration and allowances pocketed by political office holders in Nigeria, who do extraordinarily little but collect so much.

”Workers generate surplus value and revenue for the government.

”We do not constitute any unnecessary cost or burden to governance. It is also important to make the point that salaries are products of contracts governed by laws. They cannot be unilaterally adjusted.”

He said that many countries of the world were increasing the salaries of their workforce and extending social security coverage for their citizens.

According to him, many are providing all forms of palliatives to help their people through the terrible socio-economic dislocations occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Waba said that it would be completely strange for the Nigerian government to be thinking of a salary slash.

“This move is not only at great odds with global best responses to the COVID-19 pandemic but also in violation of relevant ILO Conventions and Declarations on Wages and Decent Work.

“We urge the government as a social partner to quickly respond to the demands by Labour for an upward review of salaries of all Nigerian workers.

“Nigerian workers have shown sufficient understanding with the government through the tough patches of the pandemic.

“Now, Nigerian workers demand reciprocity of our understanding. Nigerian workers demand an increase in their remunerations and allowances,” he said.

NAN

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Paying ransomt To Kidnappers Is Foolishness —Obasanjo

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Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, on Wednesday, has cautioned against the payment of ransom to kidnappers.

He, however, submitted that the government must develop means to deal with kidnappers and bandits heavily in place of ransom payment.

He noted that the governments of both President Goodluck Jonathan and Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) paid ransom to kidnappers but they denied it.

Obasanjo said he does not believe in payment of ransom to kidnappers and bandits, saying it encouraged criminals indulging in the act.

The former president berated any government that pays ransom, describing them as follies.

Obasanjo spoke on Wednesday at his residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State, while playing host to members of Tiv professionals Group led by Prof Zacharys Anger Gundu.

Obasanjo insisted that it requires a “carrot and stick” approach to fight insecurity challenges to a standstill.

He said “Some people are still reaching out, and hoping that lives can still be saved. But a situation whereby anybody thinks paying ransom is the way out, that person is folly. He is a folly. This is because when you pay ransom, you encourage. But if you are not going to pay ransom, you must have the means to deal heavily with it. You must have the stick to deal with it.

“Government has always paid ransom. Not only this government, even during Jonathan (administration). They paid ransom, but they denied it.”

Obasanjo expressed fears that those beating drums of division in Nigeria don’t think about the interest of the minority ethnic groups.

He added, “Where do we want those minor groups to stand? Wherever they stand, now they are by virtue of Nigeria’s present situation a little bit protected. But if Nigeria breaks up and they are in a smaller country, they will be oppressed. They will always be exterminated. Are we thinking of that?

“I believe that if we will get it right in Nigeria, any leader must look at Nigeria with the prism of the diversity of Nigeria. For as long as you look at Nigeria with the prism of your ethnic group, then you aren’t going anywhere, either your ethnic group or religious group.

“But is there hope? There is hope.”

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Gumi Warns Against Sacking Pantami, Says Nigeria Will Regret If…

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Popular Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi Monday warned that Nigerians will regret if the embattled Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami is sacked from office.
Gumi who gave the warning during an interview with Roots TV said allegations against the embattled Minister were not true and should be discarded.
You would recall that different groups, politicians have since called for the resignation of the Minister over his past support for terror groups insisting that Pantami’s renunciation was not enough.
But in the interview, Gumi said Nigeria should get more people like Pantami and put them in power instead of calling for his removal.
“You cannot Islamise the whole world. Jesus Christ came; he could not Christianise the whole world. Nobody can Islamise or Christianise Nigeria,” Gumi began.
“All his actions, one hundred percent, shows he is not a terrorist. Those who are terrorists are after his life. The Minister should continue. His presence there is fighting the terrorist ideology.
“Show me, one person, he has killed. He has not killed anybody. He has not ordered the killing of anybody. Discard the fake news.
“The man is stabilizing a government among a section of youths, which we want them to come and join in nation-building. They should not throw him away. Leave him. He is not a terrorist sympathizer.
“And you people are fighting them. No. You should get more people like Pantami and put them in power. It will stabilize. Don’t remove him. You’ll regret,” he stated.

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